Characterization of an IgA receptor from group B streptococci: specificity for serum IgA



Some strains of group B streptococci express a cell surface protein which binds IgA. This report describes some properties of such an IgA receptor and compares it with a previously described IgA receptor from group A streptococci. The group B receptor was released in an almost pure form from bacteria incubated at elevated pH, and could be isolated by IgA-Sepharose affinity chromatography. The sequence of the N-terminal 19 amino acid residues was unique. The receptor preferentially binds IgA of human origin, as shown in immunoblotting experiments with purified IgA from nine different species. The affinity constant of the purified receptor for serum IgA was determined to be 3.5 × 108 M−1, but for secretory IgA it was too low to allow determination. This result indicates that secretory component and/or J chain interferes with the binding of IgA to this type of bacterial receptor, which may be one of the physiological functions of these polypeptides. A reduction in affinity was also observed for another complexed form of IgA, α1-microglobulin-IgA. The group B receptor is antigenically unrelated to the IgA receptor from group A streptococci (protein Arp), but competitive inhibition experiments indicate that they bind to the same region in IgA. The implications of these findings, and the biological role of bacterial IgA receptors, are discussed.